Catholic Herald Reporter MOTHERS with babies in prams will have places of honour when the new and round Benedictine Church of St. Mary, Leyland, Preston, is opened, blessed and consecrated this weekend.
"Pram park provided", says the official invitation to the opening and consecration at which the new Archbishop of Liverpool. Mgr. Beck, .Bishop Parker of Northampton, Abbot Hume of Ampleforth, and Abbot Byrne of Leyland will take part.
Good modern artists have followed the good modern architects in putting into effect the ideas of Fr. Edmund FitzSimons, the parish priest.
The master plan for the pre-cast concrete church was approved by Archbishop Heenan in mid 1961, site work started in January 1962, resulting in Eastertide opening in 1964.
The church. which Archbishop Beck of Liverpool will consecrate on Saturday, is 119 ft. across with a circular nave 95 ft. in diameter and to seat 1,200 people. A broad ambulatory runs outside the Yshaped columns (see picture). The Sanctuary, too, is circular, and a shaft of light is directed on to the high altar from an overhead central lantern. Radiating from the lantern is a great folded slab of concrete which forms a canopy over the main body of the church. There are side cha pets around the ambulatory and the tabernacle will be on the altar of the Blessed Sac rament Chapel (not the high altar) —a chapel seating 100 people and which may be used for weekday Masses.
• Other features are a sunken baptistry and an 88 ft. free-standing bell tower. Adjoining is a new Priory for the Benedictine community.
Leyland parishioners will be seeing this weekend for the first time the beauty of the striking glass and concrete screen. making the outer wall of the ambulatory, and designed by Patrick Reyntiens in rich and darkly glowing shades of blue, set in concrete. Thirty-six panels long (233 ft.). this wall is probably one of the largest of its kind yet to be executed.
Adam Kossowski has designed the ceramic tympanium of "The Last Judgment" set over the main entrance, while behind the altar of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel will hang a tapestry of the Blessed Trinity designed by J. Faczynski. Civic Mass on Sunday at which the celebrant and preacher will be the Abbot of Ampleforth, will be followed by an afternoon procession from the old church, through the streets of Leyland. and to the new church where Bishop Parker of Northampton will give Benediction. A special Mass for the clergy will follow on Monday at which Abbot Byrne will be the celebrant and the Abbot of Ampleforth will preach.
Architects of the new St. Mary's are Weightman and Flullen.